Contemporaneity and Transnationality—Contemporary Art in Central Europe since the 1960s
Soim Lee

Dieser Inhalt ist nur auf Englisch verfügbar.

1. Introduction

Contemporary art is problematic because of its tendency toward self-absolutization. At the very least, one has to acknowledge that simply accepting the designation of recently produced art as “contemporary art” disregards the genealogy of this concept. The term gradually emerged soon after World War II and came to be used in demarcation to its predecessor, modern art. Seen independently of this chronological sequence, “the contemporary” generally refers to a given historical period of the present in which different entities cobelong. Thus, it is possible for us to experience the contemporary as an existential coexistence or togetherness of lived time in time. The contemporary is based on a copresentness of disjunctive temporalities. That is to say, there is a unity of multiple (temporal, spatial, ideological, etc.) positions and (subjective) stances, each of which might possess a different temporal form, and it is their copresentness that constitutes global historical time. A theory of contemporaneity inquires how all this enables the emergence of a collective albeit internally divergent subject.1

In the following, I explore Eastern Europe’s representation through contemporary art with examples drawn from the archive of steirischer herbst, which provides rich material to look obliquely at the gradual emergence of contemporary art in Central Europe since the 1960s.

2. Three Periodizations of Contemporary Art

First, I would like to refer briefly to the three periodizations Peter Osborne analyzed to illustrate the relationship between art and geopolitics.2 Although most art historical as well as art critical accounts tend to lump them together, it is helpful to keep these three periodizations, according to which certain geopolitical events create internal aesthetic divisions, analytically distinct.

The first periodization takes contemporary art to begin after World War II, thereby determining it above all as marked by the establishment of US hegemony. In this process of the US’ ascension to global geopolitical and cultural dominance, the incorporation of European avant-garde art into American institutions went hand in hand with the art historical canonization of the first generation of genuinely US-produced art, the so-called Neo-Avant-Garde, put forth as the new world power’s high culture. A salient feature of this epoch was the geopolitically motivated exclusion of the US’ Cold War adversary, the countries of the Eastern Bloc, whose art was simply omitted from (art) historical accounts.

According to the second periodization, contemporary art begins in the 1960s. It presupposes an established institutional frame and focuses more on the immanent artistic development within it, characterized by a break with the object-based, medium-specific aesthetic of the first generation of postwar North American artists. One should remark that this periodization doesn’t rely on a singular historical date but rather on the entire 1960s zeitgeist of social, cultural, and political revolution. The internationalization of contemporary art through institutional channels took place in this context, accompanied by a theoretical discourse established by Conceptual artists of the 1960s and adopted by US critics and curators. This periodization, of course, still considers the Second World the ideological opponent of the West and therefore keeps it out of its history of the contemporary for the most part.

Finally, the third periodization takes the year 1989 as its starting point—a date signifying the collapse of the binary world order, the beginning of the Soviet Union’s dissolution and therefore the universal triumph of capitalism, driven by the neoliberal process of globalized capital accumulation. This was accompanied by a growth of the global art market and hence a drastic increase in the commodification of artworks, marking the historical closure of the avant-garde. Moreover, there was a boom of global art exhibitions—the biennials and art fairs that presented a finally global contemporary to the (art) world.

3. steirischer herbst: 1968 and the Geopolitical Conditions of Central Europe

Against this background, it becomes possible to read the history of steirischer herbst in a way that allows one to grasp the cultural representation of the contemporary through contemporary art in Central and Eastern Europe since the 1960s. Inaugurated in 1968, steirischer herbst bears the signs of its time, its revolutionary hopes and claims to social emancipation. Somewhat like its big German cousin Documenta, which first took place in 1955, the creation of a progressive festival such as steirischer herbst can be understood as part of an extended process of denazification and liberalization of postwar Central European culture, encouraged by the Allies.3 But the festival’s creation represents not only denazification or social change caused by student movements. It also took place right in the midst of a fundamental change in the logic of artistic production, which was not as obvious at first glance as, say, the avant-garde experiments at the beginning of the century.

In a talk given in 1966 at the Academy of Arts in West Berlin and published a year later, Theodor W. Adorno describes an erosion of the boundaries between the arts (Verfransung). This phenomenon signifies an immanent potential for development, opening up the possibility for art forms to liberate themselves from their traditional boundaries.4 At first glance, Adorno’s talk seems to mirror what was happening in 1960s art production, which was experimenting with the new aesthetic of “intermedia.”5 But, in fact, there is a slight difference between Adorno’s philosophical-historical perspective on European genre traditions and the idea of crossing the borders between mediums in a new form of art.6

Efforts to liberalize postwar culture notwithstanding, in Austria, the ties to the various artistic traditions were kept alive in a way that differed from the German emphasis on the discontinuity of the “zero hour” cut.7 However, the continuity of genre traditions does not imply backward-looking conservatism per se; many Austrian artists working in genres such as literature, theater, opera, music, painting, sculpture, and even cabaret situated themselves in the tradition of the modernist avant-garde. Thus, an accurate characterization of steirischer herbst should consider the festival’s multigenre character and the avant-garde logic of these genres.8 Although in many respects the festival’s beginnings consistently correspond with the second periodization of contemporary art, this does not mean that all of its characteristics do so perfectly.

Even a very brief comparison to Documenta can help point out some differences: Documenta 3 (1964) and 4 (1968) systematically presented contemporary art from the US as universal contemporary art. Eastern European art was not shown and even East German art was exhibited for the first and only time at Documenta 6 (1977), after the Eastern Bloc had declined to participate in Documenta 5 (1972). By contrast, at steirischer herbst, transformations in contemporary art caused by geopolitical events were presented with a certain temporal lag. A logic of national demarcation was preferred for exhibitions, a pluralist, particularist frame to showcase current developments in art from different countries—among which, for the first time in the early 1980s, were also Third World countries.9

With due diligence, one can perhaps say that Europe’s geography, which makes it impossible to disregard transnationality, determined the temporalization of contemporaneity in a slightly different way than US geopolitics did. Austria, and Graz in particular, may serve as an example of this: due to its location and historical position as a minor Habsburg line gateway between Central and Eastern Europe, the city has always already been somewhat part of the East. At the same time, it strongly represented the West and was integrated into the denazification of Austrian culture mentioned above. These conditions make steirischer herbst and its archive a valuable resource for thinking the contemporary differently. Perhaps we could say that, through the festival and by focusing on how space is tied to duration, it becomes possible to zoom in onto a stage preceding the sublation of all differences into the global contemporary, thereby allowing an alternative narrative of the globalization of contemporary art to emerge. The central question here is how the Austrian hesitation to adopt the new geopolitical framework of the contemporary must be interpreted if it is not to be understood as clinging to what Martin Heidegger called a vulgar notion of time, or simply as the expression of undisciplined provincial inertia.

In the European context, the third periodization of contemporary art as post-1989 art has to be read in relation to the emergence of the EU, which fundamentally restructured transnational relations on the continent, adding a supranational level of governance. In the transition period following the collapse of the binary world order, the Eastern European countries in particular were reshaped to fit the model of Western democracy and neoliberal capitalism.10 Between 1957, when the Treaty of Rome was signed, and 1993, when the European single market was established, Europe underwent a remarkable transformation. The process of European integration—during which the European Community was renamed the European Union following the 1992 Maastricht Treaty—brought with it a novel political model, extending to potential new members the possibility of entering the union’s institutional structure from 1995 onward. Simultaneously, the neoliberal deregulation of capitalist markets from the 1990s onward led to a depoliticization and increasing social disintegration, sparking reactionary movements such as the right-wing populisms that have gained further traction ever since and are widely prevalent in Europe and elsewhere today.11

The question of contemporary art in Europe has become closely related to the question of the cultural frames employed to once again rewrite European history. The difference between two hierarchical orders—the historically evolved political and economic power relations between European nations on the one hand and the legal and institutional framework of the EU on the other—implies a new kind of dynamic that in part amplifies old tensions and in part causes new ones. The questions “Who belongs to Europe?” and “Who belongs to the EU?” partially overlap and partially diverge. In any case, one would do well to keep in mind that the metaframe of Europe is applied in EU cultural politics as well. In other words, the question of how contemporary art from the Eastern Bloc is represented is now seen through the ideological lens of the EU’s cultural-political agenda, whose quest for identity is shaped by the hierarchy between European center and periphery.

4. The Retrospective Reincorporation of Eastern Europe—a Double Gap

It is a remarkable characteristic of the years after 1989 that numerous contemporary art exhibitions incorporated art from Eastern European states.12 Recall that the first and second periodizations of contemporary art omitted the Second World. When this was articulated by the third periodization, a conspicuous surplus of post festum narratives were superimposed on the blatant lack that had previously existed. Instead of finally locating the contemporary’s lost Other, the exploration of the Eastern European subject’s identity and narratives through its integration into contemporary art resulted in what one could call a double gap. The attempts to reconstruct the excluded past though art exhibitions can therefore be considered problematic.13 The critical tenor was that they oversimplified the historical differences of Eastern European countries and disregarded the long-term effects of historical events—including the simple presumption of the Western ideal of freedom.

However, there is also, for example, the method of “horizontal art history,” proposed by Polish art historian Piotr Piotrowski in the 1990s, which seems to me more appropriate for approaching postwar art in Eastern Europe.14 It takes into account that the center–periphery paradigm is part of the inherent hierarchy of art history, which favors Western Europe. Edit András has pointed out that horizontal art history reveals the theoretical dilemma of nationalism and transnationalism: while postmodernism tends to deconstruct nationalism, postcolonialism highlights potential critical functions of nationalism.15 The question is even further complicated when it comes to the transition from modern to contemporary art: The disappearance of high modernism and the appearance of contemporary art in the East did not happen abruptly or in the same order as in the West. Rather, it was a much slower, back-and-forth process, proving that modernism, avant-gardism, and contemporary art should not be divided chronologically but understood as different concepts of art.

As I have mentioned above, the constitutive contradiction of contemporary art lies in the denial of its relation to geopolitics. Artworks produced within the framework of the contemporary allege that they represent generic art. In this sense, contemporary art deepens the contradictions of postcolonial reality. Such an assessment opposes Hans Belting’s claim that the emergence of what he calls a pluralist global art after the end of modernism brings with it both the end of art history and, at least in art, a form of postcolonial justice.16 It seems as if the global contemporary can present a multiplicity of different temporal perspectives while subsuming them under a disjunctive meta-unity—as if what we’re being shown corresponded to what is actually at stake globally. Ideologically, the retrospective view on Eastern European contemporary art participates in the constitution of a universal history of the present.17

I would like to present two examples I came across in the archive of steirischer herbst. Both illustrate the dilemma of how to present contemporary art from Eastern Europe while circumventing the pitfalls of the post-1989 wave of retrospectives. I do not intend to present these cases as ideal solutions, but I think they can contribute to expanded conceptual considerations.

Abbildung 1: Drei Generationen ungarischer Maler, Ausstellungsansicht, Künstlerhaus, Graz, steirischer herbst ʼ85, Foto: steirischer herbst Archiv / Philipp

The first is the exhibition Drei Generationen ungarischer Maler (Three generations of Hungarian painters) at Neue Galerie Graz from steirischer herbst ’85, curated by Wilfried Skreiner (see figure 1). Unlike what the title suggests, it stresses not so much the retrospective view but rather its own character as a snapshot of the historical relations in the Hungarian art scene at the time. The exhibition showed internal relations between the 1920s constructivist avant-garde, its rediscovery in the 1960s by artists who moved on to become Conceptual artists in the 1970s, and, finally, the counterreaction of Neo-Expressionist painting in the 1980s. Particularly interesting is that the view backward from the 1960s to the 1920s was motivated by the will to rediscover the avant-garde, the move from the 1960s to the 1970s was an internal development of contemporary art based on a historical continuity with modern art, and the move forward from the 1970s to the 1980s—which implies a look back to the 1970s—was reactionary, at least from the perspective of Conceptual art.18 These nonlinear and nonsimultaneous movements indicate a possibility for us to experience the heterogeneity of different temporalities in artworks through different durations determined by different (spatial, geographical) standpoints. Only insofar as these standpoints are tied to specific durations does temporality enter into the equation.

Abbildung 2: Identität : Differenz: Tribüne Trigon; Eine Topographie der Moderne 1940–1990, Ausstellungsansicht, Künstlerhaus, Graz, steirischer herbst ’92, Foto: 

The second example is the trigon biennial established in the 1960s, initially to present artists from Austria, Italy, and Yugoslavia, later on from other countries as well.19 In 1992, the original concept with only three countries was revived for the exhibition Identität : Differenz: Tribüne Trigon 1940–1990; Eine Topografie der Moderne (Identity : difference: the trigon stage 1940–1990; a topography of modernity; see figure 2). In it, curator Peter Weibel attempted to synthesize different artistic trends and developments in a critical appraisal of modernity. In the exhibition catalogue, Weibel speaks of a dialectic of modernity, which he understands as the continuous struggle of the European spirit’s self-liberation from its ideologies.20 However, even if this model attempts to discard a linear, Central Europe–focused model of historical progress and questions the ideology of freedom, subsuming emancipatory—albeit contradictory—movements from different places in Europe under the same liberation process is still highly speculative. Undeniably, this exhibition’s achievement is that it opened up a discursive space instead of merely applying concepts.21 The discourses on identity and artistic phenomena became commensurable, were placed on the same level of knowledge, so to speak—just as Jean-François Lyotard had called for the abolishment of all hierarchies within a system of knowledge, arguing against the validity of theoretical metaframes.22

The discourse on the exclusion of identity in contemporary art goes hand in hand with the deconstruction of universalism, pushing theory into an aporia: universalism and particularism have to be seen as mutually grounding each other, without either of the two ever gaining the upper hand. Such a radically critical discourse is necessary to prevent a regression of contemporary art into identity politics. After all, one would do good not to ignore that Western subjectivity—the reader of these timely/untimely movements of belated integration, that is, the receptive and interpretive side of the contemporary art world—has been shaped by the postwar consensus of liberal capitalist democracy. Ultimately, this predetermines the meaning of theses retrospective exhibitions, this project of retroactivity.23

I cannot go into further detail here about which theory might be the most appropriate for renewing the discourse on identity. But one thing is clear—even its deconstruction is insufficient to get to the bottom of Eastern European identity in the contemporary. The gap between radicalized liberalism and real Eastern European people is simply too large.

Alexander Kiossev’s often-discussed notion of “self-colonizing cultures” gets closer to the heart of the problem. For better or worse, modern identity is grounded by theories of subjectivity ultimately stemming from Central European culture. Kiossev’s account of Bulgarian identity highlights the historical necessity of a third option for those subjects whose identity is not postcolonial but has nonetheless been defeated broadly, indirectly, by soft cultural practices—those who, regarding the division between Self and Other, take the position of neither or both. In this sense, it is always possible to invert the symbolic order. Kiossev describes how the Bulgarian people self-identify in a contradictory way: they are neither this nor that, or they are both, but the feeling of alienation suffices neither to be the Other of the West nor the West as Other.24 Does this specific Eastern European perspective not show how difficult it is to take the Other seriously as discursively and historically constitutive if one believes that an imaginary logic of the Self is semantically sufficient to think it? On the other hand: “Could there be a world consisting only of Others?”25 In such a world, there would no longer be a common point of reference, irrespective of the fact that its universality must necessarily be fictitious. Or, put differently: in such a world, the only collective point of reference, the only experience common to all, would be that such a point no longer exists. It would be close to impossible to grasp such pure difference in words, incomprehensible.

5. Conclusion: The (Dis)appearance of the Image of the East in Contemporary Art

Ever since contemporary art first appeared, its meaning for the contemporary has been caught up in the function of mythically reaffirming the self-absolutization of objectivity, of representing the objectivity of its historical standpoint. Today, a few decades after Francis Fukuyama’s famous thesis about the end of history—according to which liberal democracy and market economy would prevail definitively and everywhere after the collapse of the USSR26—we are faced with an empirical reality that disproves it. After a brief, perhaps somewhat foolish decade during which Western liberal democracy truly seemed to have provided if not yet a content, at least a universal form of history, the tide of the times is now pulling us back out to the open sea. We are moving increasingly in the direction of a violent counterreaction to liberalism, which may cut off our time at the dawn of new terror and war. Such developments distract us from asking how the history banished from collective consciousness is being discussed in contemporary art, and why the experience of this repressed history is so relevant.

Boris Groys, in his essay “Moscow Romantic Conceptualism,” also seems to think it possible to tie duration to space—in this case, a period in Moscow spanning from the 1960s to the perestroika.27 In his account, these dissident artists’ works are doubly uncategorizable: they were neither integrated into the Western system of art markets and institutions nor part of the official status quo of socialist art, the Artists’ Union of the USSR. Their importance for what contemporary art might be isn’t minimized by their absence from the West for certain periods of time, irrespective of whether their art shared the same codes as Western contemporaries. That Groys adds the adjective romantic to emphasize the independence of Eastern European Conceptualism can be read in two ways: It can be tied to a model of generic art stemming from the Romantic tradition that ends up being swallowed by contemporary art and the global contemporary. But perhaps it can also be understood as an attempt to reinvigorate the historical lineage of spirit that can be traced back to Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Karl Marx, and Vladimir Lenin, which was shipwrecked in actually existing socialism and has been abandoned since.

Nonetheless, I’d like to close with a small outlook: Art generates a discourse that surpasses the categories employed to characterize artworks, whereas artworks are produced within a specific geopolitical context. The archival memory of steirischer herbst should be used in this precise sense to ask how contemporary art in Central Europe can say something that contemporary art by itself cannot say. It allows for speaking of the tension that marks contemporary art in Central Europe, positioned between West and East.

See for the paradigm of contemporaneity, e.g., Terry Smith, Okwui Enwezor, and Nancy Condee (eds.), Antinomies of Art and Culture: Modernity, Postmodernity, Contemporaneity (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008); Frank Ruda and Jan Voelker (eds.), Art and Contemporaneity (Zurich: Diaphanes, 2015); Terry Smith, “What Is Contemporary Art? Contemporaneity and Art to Come,” Critical Inquiry 32, no .4 (2002): 681–707; John Rajchman, “The Contemporary: A New Idea?,” in Aesthetics and Contemporary Art, ed. Armen Avanessian and Luke Skrebowski (Berlin: Sternberg, 2011), 125–44; Peter Osborne, “The Fiction of the Contemporary,” in Anywhere or Not at All: Philosophy of Contemporary Art (London: Verso, 2013), 15–35; Peter Osborne, The Postconceptual Condition (London: Verso, 2018), 24–58.
Osborne, “The Fiction of the Contemporary” (see note 1), 18–22.
See Paul Kaufmann (ed.), 20 Jahre steirischer herbst (Vienna: Zsolnay, 1988).
Theodor W. Adorno, “Art and the Arts,” trans. Rodney Livingstone, in Can One Live after Auschwitz? A Philosophical Reader, ed. Rolf Tiedemann (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 2003), 368–87; see also Theodor W. Adorno, Aesthetic Theory, trans. Robert Hullot-Kentor (London: Athlone, 1997), 199–225.
The term intermedia, coined by the Fluxus artist Dick Higgins and used by a number of his colleagues, was adopted in art theory in an enthusiastic manner, as it was thought to be a principle of truly contemporary innovation. See Ken Friedman (ed.), The Fluxus Reader (Chichester: Academy Editions, 1998); see also Wilfried Skreiner, trigon ’71: intermedia urbana, exh. cat. Künstlerhaus / Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum, Graz (1971), and Mediart—Art, Artist and the Media, symposion, October 23–25, 1978, steirischer herbst ’78, Graz.
In this sense, Adorno remained an avid proponent of tying the aesthetic experience of contemporary artworks to a critical judgement of art. See Theodor W. Adorno, “Reflexion über Musikkritik,” in Symposion für Musikkritik, ed. Harald Kaufmann (Graz: Institut für Wertungsforschung, 1968), 7–21. The symposium was held in Graz for the 1967 edition of steirischer herbst. Although steirischer herbst was officially inaugurated in 1968, the name was already used in 1967 for a smaller series of events.
For a historical account of denazification in Germany, see Tony Judt, Postwar: A History of Europe since 1945 (New York: Penguin, 2005), ch. 2 and 3, especially 52–63.
Maria Erdinger, Zur Frühgeschichte und zur Gründung des Avantgarde-Festivals “das musikprotokoll des ORF im steirischen herbst” (PhD diss., University of Graz, 2017), 12–28, urn:nbn:at:at-ubg:1-119519.
The exhibition titles often referred to the countries whose art was being shown, along with mediums. For example, at steirischer herbst ’80, there was Europäische Fotografen: Fotoausstellung von 89 steirischen Fotografen at Forum Stadtpark; Neue Malerei aus den Niederlanden at Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum; and Neue Tendenzen der Malerei in Frankreich at Künstlerhaus, Graz. The Third World was introduced under the title “Afrika—unsere andere Welt?”
See Nikita Dhawan, “Europe, What Can It Teach Us?,” in Herbst: Theorie zur Praxis, 2016, 4–9.
Among the numerous academic analyses of the EU crisis, Wolfgang Streeck’s Buying Time: The Delayed Crisis of Democratic Capitalism (trans. Patrick Camiller; London: Verso, 2014) had a considerable public impact, particularly in view of the 2008 financial crisis.
E.g., After the Wall: Art and Culture in Post-Communist Europe, Moderna Museet, Stockholm, 1999–2000; In Search of Balkania, Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Graz, 2002. See also Barbara Vanderlinden and Elena Filipovic (eds.), The Manifesta Decade: Debates on Contemporary Art Exhibitions and Biennials in Post-Wall Europe (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2005); IRWIN (ed.), East Art Map: Contemporary Art and Eastern Europe (London: Afterall, 2006).
For examples of this critique, see Ronald Jones, “After the Wall: Art and Culture in Post-Communist Europe,” Art Forum, March 2000,; Raino Isto, “I Lived without Seeing These Art Works: (Albanian) Socialist Realism and/against Contemporary Art,” ARTMargins 10, no. 2 (2021): 29–49.
Piotr Piotrowski, “On the Spatial Turn, or Horizontal Art History,” Umění/Art 56 (2008): 378–83.
Edit András, “What Does East-Central European Art History Want? Reflections on the Art History Discourse in the Region since 1989,” in Extending the Dialogue: Essays by Igor Zabel Award Laureates, Grant Recipients, and Jury Members, 2008–2014, ed. Urška Jurman, Christiane Erharter, and Rawley Grau (Berlin: Archive, 2016), 52–77, here 62.
Hans Belting, “From World Art to Global Art: View on a New Panorama,” in The Global Contemporary and the Rise of New Art Worlds, ed. Hans Belting, Andrea Buddensieg, and Peter Weibel, exh. cat., ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe (Cambridge: MIT Press, 2013), 178–85.
See Marina Gržinić, Fiction Reconstructed: Eastern Europe, Post-Socialism and the Retro-Avant-Garde, ed. Springerin (Vienna: Edition Selene, 2000), 37–49.
Lóránd Hegyi, introduction to Drei Generationen Ungarischer Künstler, ed. Katalin Néray, exh. cat., Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Künstlerhaus, steirischer herbst ’85, Graz (1985), n.p.
“Dreiländer-Biennale trigon,” Neue Galerie Graz / Museum Joanneum,, accessed October 20, 2023.
Peter Weibel, “Problem der Neomoderne,” in Identität : Differenz: Tribüne Trigon 1940–1990; Eine Topografie der Moderne, ed. Peter Weibel and Christa Steinle, exh. cat., Neue Galerie am Landesmuseum Joanneum, Künstlerhaus, Stadtmuseum, steirischer herbst ’92, Graz (Vienna: Böhlau, 1992), 3–21.
The identity discourse was further deconstructed in the following years, for example with the steirischer herbst ’96 exhibition Inklusion : Exklusion, Kunst im Zeitalter von Postkolonialismus und globaler Migration, Künstlerhaus, Reininghaus, Graz. Essays from an accompanying symposium were published as Peter Weibel and Slavoj Žižek (eds.), Inklusion : Exklusion: Probleme des Postkolonialismus und der globalen Migration (Vienna: Passagen, 1997).
Jean-François Lyotard, The Postmodern Condition: A Report on Knowledge, trans. Geoffrey Bennington and Brian Massumi (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1984).
One can think here of John Miller’s critique of Documenta 9 as a “megashow you love to hate.” Exhibitions are always already aimed at a socially constituted public. See John Miller, “The Show You Love to Hate: A Psychology of the Mega-Exhibition,” in The Ruin of Exchange and Other Writings on Art, ed. Alexander Alberro (Zurich: JRP Ringier, 2012), 223–27.
Alexander Kiossev, “Notes on Self-Colonising Cultures,” in Art and Culture in Post-Communist Europe, ed. David Elliott and Bojana Pejic (Stockholm: Moderna Museet, 1999), 114–18; Alexander Kiossev, “The Self-Colonizing Metaphor,” Atlas of Transformation, 2001,
See Ekaterina Degot, “How to Qualify for Postcolonial Discourse?,” ARTMargins Online, November 2, 2001,
Francis Fukuyama, The End of History and the Last Man (New York: Free Press, 1992).
Boris Groys, “Moscow Romantic Conceptualism,” in History Becomes Form (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2010), 36–55; see also the introduction to this book, 1–33.

Soim Lee is a PhD candidate at the Centre for Research in Modern European Philosophy (CRMEP) at Kingston University London and previously studied fine art, art history, philosophy, and political theory. The title of her dissertation project is “Contemporaneity and Negativity.” She investigates the relation between art and politics in aesthetic discourse since the 1960s as well as the relation between art, aesthetics, and geopolitics. Lee is based in Düsseldorf and London and was a steirischer herbst Research Fellow in 2023.